Seismologists Shaken up by Crazy Earthquake

Sarah M., Staff

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Earthquakes are formed when the tectonic plates in the earth shift around. But what happens when one splits in half? On September 7, 2017, a magnitude 8.2 earthquake in Mexico is believed to have split the Cocos slab in two. The Cocos slab is about 37 miles long and one of the hottest plates. What is curious is that most earthquakes occur with cool and brittle plates that break easier. When the plate is hot, it becomes bendy. So why did the Cocos plate react so violently? These kinds of splits have happened a few times in the past and seismologists are still mystified by their spontaneity and violence.